Gays in the Church Part 8: Inclusion or Exclusion

This will be the last post in this series and, in the end, I hope I was able to at least cast some doubt on the previously held assumptions that seem so prevalent in Christianity today. The arguments against homosexuality based on scripture are not as rock solid as many would like to believe and I hope I’ve at least shed some light in that regard. Ultimately, whether or not one believes homosexuality is inherently sinful is not the only aspect of this debate that is essential. The heart of this issue rests between exclusion and inclusion. Rick Warren is fat and overeats while many in this world starve. Yet millions of Christians look past this and hold Warren in very high regard. Mark Driscoll is an arrogant ego-maniac who uses foul language, yet thousands of Christians see past these faults in oder to embrace him as a prominent leader (and in the interest of full disclosure, I’m all of these things I accuse Warren and Driscoll of being so my intent here isn’t to cast stones. Fat, overeating, arrogant, potty-mouthed ego-maniacs UNITE!!). Even if one believes homosexuality is a sin, that should not keep them from accepting homosexuals into full participation into the Church. That is the beauty of the Church is that we accept who we are, who God has made us to be despite the sin we never quite rid ourselves of.

Ask yourselves if you would ever accept a former mass murderer as a lead pastor of your church. If your answer is no, then maybe your reliance on the Apostle Paul’s words in the New Testament is a bit hypocritical seeing that he saw it fit to systematically murder folks who didn’t have the same religious beliefs that he did. As we look back, even if we might find some faults, Paul’s writings are an amazing gift to the Christian tradition that should be cherished and relied upon. The lesson here is that if we categorically dismiss people because of what we perceive as evil-doing, then we may be robbing ourselves of extraordinarily rich contributions to our Christian communities.

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7 thoughts on “Gays in the Church Part 8: Inclusion or Exclusion

  1. “Fat, overeating, arrogant, potty-mouthed ego-maniacs UNITE!!”

    Almost spit my drink out when I read that. Kudos!

    Seriously though, I think that that Paul analogy is helpful in other arguments for those who aren’t so grace inclined. But, my fear is that some church folk would happily accept an “ex” homosexual into their community, as long as there was a heavy emphasis on the “ex” part. Probably the same thing with an “ex” murderer.

    Like you infer, one can over-eat their way to heaven, but just don’t be gay while doing it.

    Thanks again for your thoughts and the discussion on this.

  2. Hi. Just surfed in … followed a link from Tony Jones’s blog.

    That is the beauty of the Church is that we accept who we are, who God has made us to be despite the sin we never quite rid ourselves of.

    I think there’s a lot of truth in what you say, but it doesn’t do to be simplistic: in that Evangelical line of thinking, there’s all the difference in the world between repented sin and unrepented sin. Accepting/including someone who is struggling to change is quite different from accepting someone who sees no need of change. Indeed, I guess that distinction, in general, goes far beyond Evangelicals.

    So it strikes me that inclusion is often more about agreeing to disagree: and that’s something Evangelicals – and other Christian tribes – haven’t been very good at. Because I’m right, after all :-).

  3. First of all, thanks for all the effort you put into this man.

    I was just going to say that I feel this just reinforces some thoughts and opinions that I’ve always had. I have to say that I haven’t yet encountered a friend who was gay and didn’t acknowledge that it was sinful. In fact, I have a friend who chooses to be abstinent so that she doesn’t follow through with her desires, because she does believe it’s wrong, yet struggles with the tendancies.

    I have always been critical in asking myself some questions about this…

    Isn’t it possible to lie, and still be a Christian?

    Isn’t it possible to cheat, and still be a Christian?

    Isn’t it possible to lust, and still be a Christian?

    Isn’t it possible to fall short, and still be a Christian?

    So is it possible to be homosexual, and still be a Christian?

    Personally, my answer would be, ‘Yes.’

    Just as I believe that Christian or not, God can use anyone or anything to contribute to the great task of setting everything to rights.

  4. Interesting series, very though provoking. I agree with you on some points, but definitely not on all.

    I agree that we as Christians and as the church need to accept all people. However, you seem to lean towards accepting the sin as well. That I don’t believe we can, or should, ever do.

    It’s true that we as Christians and the church have come to think of certain sins as “acceptable” and your call of hypocrisy on this is spot on. But what I think this realization should lead us to do is not accept the sin of homosexuality, but to re-evaluate our acceptance of other sins.

    My pastor touched on this topic in his sermon on Sunday. He unabashedly said that he would, and we all should, accept a homosexual into our congregation. Just as we would accept a person guilty of any other sin. We can not, however, ever treat their sin as acceptable. Be it homosexuality, pre-marital (heterosexual) sex, etc…

    To me it boils down to the old adage, “Love the sinner, not the sin.”

  5. hey there man. i’ve really loved reading your blog for a while now.

    One question about your post here: in your opinion is there ever a reason for someone to be disciplined and asked to leave the community? Like how Paul asked the Corinth church to do so for a time…and then he asked them to include those who were disciplined?

    later.

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